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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 24 Mar 2007

Location: Summerland, Canada

MapJambo Everyone,

It's nice to see that there are still people logging on and checking out my trip. Thank you.
Before I went to Africa a lot of people said that going there would change me and they were right. I cannot forget the faces of the people that I met in Rwanda and Tanzania. Every night when I turn on a light I am reminded that most of the people I met don't have even a candle a candle to light. Being so near to the equator, they live in darkness 12 hours a night for 12 months of the year. Even if there was a light in their mud hut, they have no books to read, games to play, crafts to work on or even housework to do because their huts are almost empty. The whole thing overwhelms me. When kids here say they’re bored with their rooms full of toys, their assortments of electronic games, their TV’s, VCR’s, DVD’s MP3’s, etc, I wish they could see how many so many people in the third world countries of the world live.
I read what I can find on Africa, the HIV/AIDS crisis, the genocide in Rwanda and the humanitarian efforts taking place over there and the more I read the more I realize how ignorant I was all of these years. I try to make the people I know and meet understand that we all need to educate ourselves and not continue to live in denial of the worst humanitarian crisis of this century. The people that are working on the front lines in areas of Africa hardest hit liken this tragedy to the Holocaust. I’m sure that there were many people in the generations following that atrocity that asked their parents and grandparents, “Did you know that this was happening? What did you do to help?” I would hope that most people would like to have an answer that they could be proud of if they were asked that question by their children in regards to helping the people of Africa. I’ve talked to people who tell me that they turn the channel when they see a show or news story with starving, emaciated children. We can’t bear to even see something like that on TV but we expect the mothers in Africa to hold their dying children in their arms knowing there is nothing they can do to save them. It is our duty as Canadian citizens to make sure that the children of the world are given the opportunity to enjoy the same rights as the children in our country. They must have access to safe drinking water, sufficient food, education, health care and be given a chance to pursue their dreams.
I vow to spend the rest of my life doing what I can do to help. If everyone made even a small gesture, like sponsoring a child, together we could begin to make a difference. One of my favorite quotes is… "To the world you might be just one person but to one person, you might be the world.”
With the help of some of my friends, we have been working hard on various projects in our area.
-We took a lot of the pictures that were taken on the trip and have made story boards. I use these when I do presentations for local schools and organizations.
-A fundraiser was put on at New Year’s to raise money for the clinic in Rwanda and some of the schools in Tanzania that were written about in my blog.
-I did a presentation for our town council here in Summerland and they have agreed to form a “Friendship Agreement” with Kahama. (This is the town from the Isegehe area that a lot of our World Vision Foster Children live in.) We are in the process of setting this up and are forming a committee to help implement the plan. It is my hope that eventually our whole town will be involved by fostering more of the children from this area specifically, helping to raise money for medical supplies and education and forging long-lasting friendships with the people there. Eventually I would like to see other Canadian communities form agreements with towns and villages from Africa.
Our next fundraiser will be taking place on April 28th here in Summerland. It is called the “First Annual Amazing Race for Africa’ and is a car rally with a dinner and dance to follow.
Our committee will continue to plan other events and fundraisers throughout the year along with educational presentations.
I am travelling back to Africa next March with Wendy, one of the girls from the last Rwanda trip and another friend from Penticton. I am in the process of trying to learn Swahili for this trip as we will be hiring our own vehicle and driver and making the trip independent of World Vision. We will be visiting all of the children that are presently sponsored in Kahama/Isegehe and will visit any new children, that are sponsored through me, on behalf the new sponsors. We will be taking over money from some of the sponsor families to purchase larger items that can’t be sent through the mail. We will be taking over items that we have purchased in Canada that we can’t get there like education and medical supplies. We will be meeting with the town representatives of Kahama to further promote the Summerland-Kahama Friendship Agreement. We will be traveling to Rwanda to visit our friends in the Nyamata ADP and at this point we are planning to travel down to Malawi to visit my one of my other sponsored children. (Malawi is a little country directly to the south of Tanzania.) There is going to be a lot of planning going into this trip now that we have the experience of the last one under our belts. I will keep you all posted.
I will sign off for now. Please feel free to leave any messages as I do still check this site. If anyone has any ideas, wants to get involved or is interested in sponsoring a child, my phone number is 250-494-9795. Take care.

Brenda